Determination of normal value of glomerular size in Chinese adults by different measurement methods


Professor Yi Pu Chen, Division of Nephrology, Beijing Anzhen Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing 100029, China. Email:


Aim:  Identification of glomerulomegaly is a prerequisite for diagnosis of obesity-related glomerulopathy, so measurement of glomerular size is of critical importance.

Methods:  A total 100 cases pathologically diagnosed as minor glomerular abnormalities or thin basement membrane nephropathy with normal body mass index and blood glucose level were selected as the normal value measurement group of glomerular size. The mean value of diameters of capillary tuft on the glomerular maximum profile was determined using the direct method and indirect method with the Motic Med 6.0 digital medical image analysis system. Meanwhile, 80 cases of different glomerular disease with normal body mass index and blood glucose level were also collected. Their glomerular diameters were measured and compared with those in the normal value measurement group.

Results:  The measurement results showed that gender and age had no effects on glomerular diameter. The normal value ranges of the diameter on glomerular maximum profile were as follows. (i) Pole-containing glomerulus (the glomerulus with vascular pole or/and urinary pole): direct method, 101.3–184.9 µm; indirect method, 100.3–183.5 µm. (ii) Pole-containing glomerulus plus non-pole glomerulus (the glomerulus without poles, the maximum profile of which was larger than that in the smallest pole-containing glomerulus): direct method, 108.3–185.9 µm; indirect method, 107.4–185.4 µm. The glomerular diameters of the 80 cases with different glomerular disease were all within the aforementioned normal value ranges.

Conclusions:  Both methods used in the present study are feasible to measure the glomerular diameter and the normal value range of glomerular diameter in Chinese adults is established.